farouk was an arsenal fan

December 31, 2009 at 6:08 pm (Uncategorized)

Abdulfarouk Umar Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian at the centre of a failed attempt to bomb an airliner, is just like the guy next door – a basketball player and a football fan. His favourite club is the Arsenal Football Club of England. A former domestic staff of the Mutallabs, Basiru Hamza, described Farouk as a jovial person who takes much interest in his books. “He is religious and holds strong views on many things.
He likes basketball and his favourite soccer club is Arsenal FC. Later in life, when he became very religious, he started talking less and less about sports. One topic he always talks about is international politics. He holds strong views about United States and Israel.
“The last time I saw him was four years ago in Kaduna, but I am really surprised to hear that he wanted to blow up a plane. I know he used to be religious, but I never imagined he would have the nerves to kill someone.
source: This Day Newspaper (December 28, 2009)

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TIME OUT! GOVERNOR SEGUN ONI.

December 31, 2009 at 5:35 pm (Uncategorized)

TIME OUT, GOVERNOR ONI! BY J. CHUMA OKOYE
I read with concern the report on the reaction of the governor of Ekiti State Mr. Segun Oni to the lingering crisis of performance of school pupils. Although I am taken aback by the solution he proposes, I must first acknowledge the governor’s courage. It takes courage to open that discussion and even more courage to take on the monster that bedevils education instead of pretending to be on top of things.
For academics, it is often frustrating trying to figure out why stakeholders cannot see in its simplicity, the problems that hold down our education sector. Sometimes, we are quite convinced that they see them but shy away. Some make up new indefensible hypotheses that fall apart even before scrutiny. At the last convocation of Tai Solarin University of Education Ijebu Ode, I squirmed in my seat as the Pro-Chancellor of the institution (a former VC of Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye whose students besieged the State House of Assembly in their numbers and would not go until he was removed from office) laboured to explain that education is not free anywhere in the world. Whereas there is an argument that education cannot be free inasmuch as someone is paying for what people would get at no charge, it is erroneous to use that as an excuse for mind-blowing school fees. Leaving the semantics aside, what needs to be said is that a government may decide to provide full or part education for its people and pay for it. If you call it free education or some other nomenclature, it is by the way. That is what a manifesto declares to attract the electorate in a place where democracy makes sense. We not have to look far to find an example of this. Being a beneficiary of the Unity Party of Nigeria’s Free Education Policy in 1979, I received books and stationery. I saw children go to school who would not have dared to appear before the school gates for poverty. Repeatedly, I have read of people who still remain grateful to Obafemi Awolowo for his free education stance. For anyone to stand on the same soil where Obafemi Awolowo actualized free education and within only miles of Obafemi Awolowo’s home town and say that education cannot be free is to open the doors to acute controversy.
There is no harm in admitting that one does not know how to make a thing or a policy work. All that is needed is the courage to call in people who know what to do. That free education cannot work in Nigeria is a lie. …TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE, PLEASE CLICK ON THE TITLE ON THE LIST OF PAGES ON THE RIGHT PANE. PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT

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INGLORIOUS AWARDS 2009 PART 1

December 26, 2009 at 9:56 pm (Uncategorized)

There is urgent need to celebrate the foolishness and idiotic innovations of people we put in charge of our lives. It would sound like we make fun of them. Far from it, we only return their compliments they give us the year round. This is not hard to explain or understand. One dumb thing about our leaders is that because they do dumb things, they expect us to share the dumbness by accepting that the lies they tell us are true. By giving them feedback such as this, they know we know what they hope we do not know. When they lie to us and we keep quiet, it is not because we do not see beyond the lies. It is because we are wiser than giving ourselves up to be used as scapegoats. We just do not want to be misused twice – first as citizens and again as victims.
Once a year, we should get back to them and tell them their achievements. When we tell them, we will tell them in no uncertain terms. We will each prepare our own list of infamous awards for the infamous actions they did in our localities. The list below is mine and take the pains to explain why they have the awards.
INEC’S MAURICE IWU for pretending not to understand why he should have left that job a long while ago and for the boldness he has still standing before us to talk about free and fair elections. Also for his self-imposed blindness that does not allow him see that he is so tainted that there is nothing fair about him and anything he heads. When you reach a stage when you have lost all credibility, it is time to quit. He wins this award because he acts like he does not know. Anyway, there is a bloc that thinks he is an angel. How will they know when they all smell themselves and delude themselves that they will rule for sixty years over a people that have rejected you.
INEC’S AYOKA ADEBAYO not for sabotaging her acclaimed conscience but for the damage she has done to generations of Nigerians. A grandma is usually the children’s delight especially one who has enough money to buy them many toys. See the toy she handed the children in Ekiti. The toy speaks when you press it. What it says is MURDER, DEATH, FRAUD, THUGGERY, GUNS AND KNIVES! What a woman! Resigning and un-resigning in one week. Can happen when you have the assurance you will never be made to explain it. Which journalist would not like to ask her a few questions. Imagine how the paper would sell that headlines Ayoka Adebayo opens up: The Truth About the Ekiti Saga. She wins the award for ignoring the nation and carrying on like nothing happened.
FG’S SAM EGWU for not realizing that as a public officer, he cannot be chasing private rats when his national house is on fire. In the end you ask yourself, what has he achieved so far save to preside over one strike after the other. Anyway, his sponsors have a different way of measuring success. They measure effort not result. Nothing wrong in that. Trouble is that we have neither because effort that is half-hearted, ill-planned, ill-timed, publicity-seeking and deceptive cannot be counted as real effort. Enjoy your award.
NIGERIA POLICE’S OGBONNAYA ONOVO because under his watch Ribadu came and went. He carts home the inglorious award for not only failing to notice that Ribadu came, but for denying the obvious on national television. He appears to be the only one to acknowledge his men are rotten and recently begged them to change their ways. He wins again because he pretends not to know that the men he appeals to have long lost their sense of hearing. He also fails to realize that if he inherited all the equipment of Scotland Yard, his men are not anywhere near having the skill to use them. We will keep the rest of his citation for next year because he is sure to win every year at this rate.
EKITI STATE’S SEGUN ONI not for his role in the election accusations. The court will handle that. He wins for recently tying the promotion of teachers to the performance of their student. He is an educated fellow. He says they have invested massively in education and is not getting result for the investment. Well, he wins because he trivialises the deep issues that surround education in Nigeria. He wins for thinking he can put in a million and get result same day. How naive. He wins because he fails to see that all he has put is a drop and that it takes time, planning and impeccable administration to turn education around. Finally, and most interestingly, how can he not realize that the teacher’s morale is at an all-time low. And more importantly, he has just laid the foundation for institutional cheating in all examinations affected by his order.
NIGERIA’S NEC for all the lies they told us in connection with the president’s health beginning from the stage-managed altercation between the two houses to the bare-faced lies of people claiming to be in daily contact with the ailing president. From all those who claimed he sent messages home to all those jostling for positions in case the president chooses to quit.
MICHAEL AANDOAKA for his consistently inconsistent talking and chameleoning. Thank you to Yar Adua’s government, we would never have known we have such men in the judiciary. God! Some well-meaning guy could have hired him to defend him! Take your award and enjoy it.
NFF AND FORTUNE CHUKWUDI for lying to the world about the ages of middle-aged players who are supposed to be 17. Not one of them is a student in any known secondary or tertiary institution. They win because of the rape of childhood. They took the places that belong to children and gave them to adult. Anyway, they are learning from their leaders. If at 70 you can be a Resident Electoral Commissioner in a volatile and sensitive state; if at 80 you can be minister of petroleum and have been in government since 1984; then it is all well and good. NFF wins for teaching young people that lying to the world has reward. All you need is to fool the MRI robot. Anyone that castigated Adokiye shares this inglorious award.
BODE GEORGE for blazing the trail and showing the politicians the ways they will go as soon as God approves. Of course we know he is innocent. But he will keep the award until he persuades the judiciary, then he can return it.
JAMES IBORI for winning cases and proving his innocence. He wins because he is innocent and his people say no way. For his inablility to persuade his own people, he will hold the award till further notice.
NIGERIA POLICE for killing Muhammed Yusuf and telling us he was shot in action. Up BBC, we know the army handed him to the police alive. Interestingly, the only photograph of the controversial young man is the one BBC published on their site. We wonder how they got it! Police is still telling that story. That is why we give them this award. They can return it in a decade because we know they are not about to begin to tell it all.
DORA AKUNNYILI for re-branding Nigeria and marrying her children to foreigners. American grandchildren is not a bad idea is it?

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I AM ASHAMED OF MYSELF

December 24, 2009 at 12:27 am (Uncategorized)

Last Sunday, a neighbour of mine brought in a container that contained everything under the sun, just about anything that can be stuffed into every available space.
People swarmed. I got a first opportunity to watch them offload the container. Out came a full open-back truck and an Opel Vectra car that was loaded on it. Someone tells me there was a second car. There were computers, electric irons, televisions that the world has forgotten about, battered printers and photocopying machines, loads of used tyres, refrigerators and freezers. there were shoes, slippers, bedsheets and fans. The crowd swarmed and I felt sorry for them and for the nation. Then I swarmed with them because I could do with a desktop computer. Trouble is that you cannot test them. You buy them on trust. If they do not work, you try to repair them. If you cannot, you offload them to someone who could use their components as spare parts.
I bought a desktop which fortunately was fine save for that the OS in Italia. Then I thought of what I had done. And I felt sorry for myself. I had provided a market for Europe’s junk. But I needed a desktop. Where else will you buy one for seven or eight thousand naira?
Well, I bought one. Then I thought to myself, this is the shame of a nation that another nation would provide them clothing – the ones they discarded.
We fall over each other to buy these things because they are things we long for but cannot afford off the shelf. Things our leaders take for granted.
Anyway, Europe came to Africa last Sunday. Till today, four days after, they are still selling the things that the container brought.
I wonder why I got involved but I do not regret the computer I bought. where else will you buy a computer that cheap?

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LIES, LIES AND MORE LIES

December 2, 2009 at 11:10 am (Uncategorized)

A friend of mine says ‘In Nigeria, even the simplest truth shines so much you cannot bear to look at it.’ His message is clear. In Nigeria, we live a lie. Everywhere you turn, there are lies being told. You look at nonsense long enough, it will begin to make sense to you. We look at blatant truth and rationalize it. We say, ‘Afterall…’. When you hear it, you know that a crook is about to point to a bigger crook who is getting away with the same or a worse crime.
Look around you and see for yourself. The billboard in front of you is telling you how the governor is working himself to death building facilities for you. You are tempted to forget that it is a job he stole for himself. When a governor builds something, he sounds off like it was his father’s money he spent. We praise him because he did not steal that fund, not because he is a pacesetter for sinking boreholes and using a full-colour pull-out in the papers to tell us about it. Further down the road are billboards telling us of food products that give us vitamins a-z. Our stomachs are still swollen from malnutrition. For malnutrition is not really an absence of food, but the absence of the right food. So the Japanese and Chinese sell us food supplements. I have told countess hawkers that I would rather eat the food than swallow the supplements.
The schools are full of computers … lie, the teachers are of the highest quality …lie. This government is dedicated to …lie, these allegations are unfounded and the handiwork of …lie. These players are 17 … lie. The election was free and fair …lie. There were no casualties in the incident …lie. The police commissioner said he had not been briefed on the incident …lie. The suspects are in police custody and would be prosecuted to the limits …lie. The army has said that none of its personnel was involved in the incident …lie. The House Committee on …lie lie lie! We are committed to achieving 600 megawatts. Answer this one yourself!
The next thing we do is to try and repackage these lies and call them truth. How can we have a society where we know we are lied to and we still applaud? How can Freedom of Information Bill pass when the whole enterprise is shrouded in darkness. our darkness is worse that NEPA failure. It is a darkness that chokes out truth and everyone thinks it is ok. the leaders want it like that so that their ill-gotten wealth can glitter in our darkness.
Anyway, the whole Nigerian enterprise is a lie! Time to undo the lies if we hope to survive as a nation. If you vex, na true I de talk!

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